Mini-review: Emergent Design

06/21/09

Mini-review: Emergent Design

It’s taken me a long time, but I finally finished Scott Bain’s book Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development.

As the title suggests, the book is evolutionary, not revolutionary. I’m still looking for someone to bridge the gap between the Agilists and the Architects, to point out where long-term design has a place. Developers experienced in both OO and Agile design may find much of the material familiar. It’s a valuable book, though, building on principles popularized by “Uncle” Bob Martin and others. Mr. Bain covers a lot of ground, and many readers will be exposed to new ideas (always a good thing).

Most of the examples are in Java, although a few are in C#. They are generally simple and to the point. A passing familiarity with UML will aid comprehension, but is not a requirement. The text is well-written; Mr. Bain has an informal style that keeps the material from being dry. He also provides amusing real-world analogies.

I found the patterns overview (Appendix B) extremely valuable. It’s 84 pages long; I read a pattern a day in the morning until I finished it.

One downside is the number of typos in the book. The UML diagrams seemed particularly susceptible.

If you’re not deeply familiar with all of the following, read this book:

Bob Martin’s Clean Code would make a nice prerequisite.

See also: Practices vs. Simplicity


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